Darrell Thomas, also known as Smiley-D, is from Oklahoma City, OK. This is the city known for The Oklahoma City bombing. Smiley-D premieres his first album as a Christian rapper titled “Truth Spoken: Joy vs. Sorrow.” This album refers to Smiley-D giving his testimony throughout this album of where God brought him from and what he is learning in his new relationship with Christ. The album features collaborations from some lesser known artists N.O. City, Big Blam, Savion, Sha Sha Jones, & Buggsy Brown and Apocalyptic of Exodus Movement and the music production was handled by Halo of Air Tight Productions, Al Purp, Mr. Sylk, Yung Boss, & K.T. The Majorway.
As I started listening to Smiley-D’s album, the first track I encountered was Realer than Real. It sounds just like Lupe Fiasco’s “I’m Beaming”. I was waiting for Lupe to close the song out but then I realized that I was listening to the dopeness of Smiley-D. I’m silly, lol. Next up is the track titled, I Wonder. This record reminds me of an old school southwest rap track. There’s some real knowledge on this track. “I feel brand new like the page you refreshing.” The track Keep It 100 is a banger but I think he should have kept the intro beat through the whole song and should have had a fast hi-hat and a clap or something. The track is “tight” though. So Sobering popped up and it reminded me of the dirty south music I used to listen to in high school and junior college around the years of ’99 to ‘02. I listened to rap acts like: Beelow, Yungstar (T.Y.P.), Young Bleed, Hot Boys, No Limit Soldiers, & Boosie, when he was with the Concentration Camp. This track is another track to listen for. I enjoyed it because it was like jumping into a time machine. If Christian rap was sounding like this in the early 2000’s, I would have hung up gangsta and street rap early. Number 6 brings Late Night. I like how he had a South meets North sound to it. So Sobering and Late Night sound like an autobiography of Smiley-D’s past. The happy sounding track Jeremiah Thomas is another page from Smiley’s life that he is trying to “white-out.” The record talks about how he caused his baby’s mother pain and his absence from his son’s life. I’m praying for you! Two tracks down, the track listing is a song called Fighting Demons. I like these lines from the song: “And now that I look back my life was disgusting/walking ’round pack guns /and thought I was a thug/”. It’s a typical gospel rapper type rhyme, but I like this more than the other types I’ve heard over the past years. The track Gospel Freestyle, which is a gospel freestyle, sounds like an exclusive cut from a mix-tape. The only thing missing is a DJ hollering and name dropping. Finally, Smiley-D signs off with Revelations. He really goes in on this one. This track is the most potent of all of the tracks subject wise. The key tracks on this album would be: the mid-west Realer than Real, the crunk Keep It 100, Change Things Up, the slab ready So Sobering and Gospel Freestyle. Good album! I salute you fam!
1. Music –7
2. Flow – 7
3. Lyricism – 6
4. Content – 9
5. Creativity/Originality/Relevancy – 5
6. Credibility & Confidence – 9
7. Personality & Character – 7
8. Presentation Quality – 6
9. Overall Production Quality – 9
10. Potential Impact – 7